Strategic Orientation of the Managers of a Tunisian Family Group Before and After the Revolution

Strategic Orientation of the Managers of a Tunisian Family Group Before and After the Revolution

Henda Ellouze Karray (IHEC, University of Sfax, Tunisia) and Souhaila Kammoun (IHEC, CODECI, University of Sfax, Tunisia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2269-1.ch018
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Abstract

This chapter studies the strategic orientations of a leader of a group of Tunisian family businesses in a context of uncertainty and transition after the revolution in Tunisia. The specific nature of the family business is that it performs significantly better in terms of sustainability, profitability, and growth when compared to non-family businesses, especially since a majority of Tunisian companies are family businesses. In this respect, authors study the strategic orientations that can ensure the sustainability of family companies through cognitive mapping. The analysis of the cognitive map of the general manager of a group of Tunisian family businesses will help us to compare its entrepreneurial orientations adopted before the revolution and its current orientations allowing the long-term growth of family businesses after the revolution. A discussion of the findings, conclusions, and managerial implications, as well as suggestions of areas for future research, are provided.
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Introduction

Eight years after the revolution, the Tunisians (owner-managers, managers, entrepreneurs, and academics) are engaged in the construction and implementation of the new Tunisia. In this context, it would be interesting to see how Tunisian family business managers are acting strategically to ensure the sustainability of their companies, taking into account the macroeconomic environment in which they must ensure their development and contribute to the country's growth.

With the significant challenges faced by Tunisian companies in general and family businesses in particular, managers act differently. Some adapt by developing a strong ability to listen and persist despite everything, others make an effort to adapt but do not resist for long if conditions do not improve, some others choose to suspend their activities and sometimes even stop them as soon as they feel disruptions in the course of their business. Therefore, the sustainability of Tunisian family businesses seems to be threatened.

In this light, we have chosen, as part of this exploratory research study, to detect the strategic orientations of Tunisian family business managers in a transition context. The first question to be examined is to see how Tunisian managers perceive the future of their family businesses concerning the current circumstances in Tunisia. Moreover, secondly, it would be interesting to see how they intend to act in an uncertain, threatening, and unpredictable context to perpetuate the family business in a country in transition. Qualitative research using cognitive mapping seems to be the best tool to solve our research questions. This chapter is structured as follows. First, we present the theoretical framework and the context of our research. Next, we describe the methodological framework in more detail. Last, we present the findings from an exploratory study, provide a brief discussion, underline limitations of our research, and suggest areas for future research.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Cognitive Map: A representation of the conceptualization that the subject constructs of the system in which he evolves. The set of cognitive representations that emerge make it possible to understand his actions, the links between the factors structuring the cognitive patterns dictating his behaviors.

Cognitive Mapping: A tool that allows researchers to approach representations of the subjects they are studying.

Strategic Orientation: The concept of strategic orientation is adopted to understand the effects of being entrepreneurial across different research contexts.

Entrepreneurial Family Business: A business actively owned and managed by more than one member of the same family.

Case Method: A qualitative method of access to reality. The case method combines two elements: the case itself and the discussion of that case. In this way, it makes it possible to account for the chronological sequence of events and also to evaluate and understand causalities and formulate an explanation.

Exploratory Research: Research conducted on problems that have not been investigated clearly, in order to establish priorities and develop operational definitions. More precisely, exploratory research helps improve the final design of research and determine the data-collection method and selection of topics.

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